Friday, June 08, 2007

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THE MILITARY may well be within its rights to make an example of a Marine Corps veteran who was photographed at an anti-war protest while wearing parts of his uniform. But why? Or, more to the point, why now? After a tour of duty in Iraq, Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh had left active duty with an honorable discharge and commendations for his service under fire in Fallujah.
Like many soldiers and Marines who still have time remaining on their military obligations, the 25-year-old Kokesh went on inactive reserve, which is how he got into trouble. To mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, he joined a group of his contemporaries in March who staged a mock military patrol of Capitol Hill and downtown Washington. The protest by the Iraq Veterans Against the War featured camouflage-clad demonstrators carrying imaginary weapons.

The above, noted by Oliver, is from Marilou Johanek's "
Marine takes right path, wrong approach" (Toledo Blade) and Oliver notes that while he appreciates Johanek's support for Adam Kokesh, he has to wonder why she "struggles with the actual issues?" Maybe lines like this (from the column) provide a clue: "The dichotomy between freedom of speech and militaristic mandates is difficult for a civilian to comprehend." To me, that translates as: "Someone wasted a lot of money on my education because I didn't learn a damn thing but how to take handouts and turn them into a report." That's really all most j-schoolers ever learn. And, truly, shame on the media for their ignorance regarding the fact that the issues in Kokesh's case were decided in 1970 by the US Supreme Court. But to know that would require a broad based education and j-school really doesn't provide that. Now there are exceptions but that's the reality for the bulk of our 'educated' journalists (and at some point we're taking on the idiots in the RTF program at, I believe, NYU quoted in The Progressive's June issue). In fact, that may be worth noting right now. I was planning to do so Sunday but we'll leap ahead. I'm dicating this. I went through and put in the links but all the comments are being dictated while I'm on my way to speak on a campus. Point, The Progressive has a link on the left, use that because the friend who is kindly taking my dictation over the phone isn't familiar with links. This article isn't available online, it's from the June 2007 issue. The title is "The Army Goes On Spring Break" and Kirk Nielsen visits Panama City Beach on spring break to find out what the apathetic, spoiled drunkards think of the illegal war:

Not far away, I encounter two nineteen-year-olds, Ellen Martinez of Houston and Justine Watson of Charlotte, North Carolina, sitting on towels and reading celebrity magazines. They are freshmen television and film majors at New York University. Each is definitely not considering military service, though their sense of whether the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq is less certain. "It doesn't seem like it's going very well at all," says Martinez who has resided in Dubai and Damascus because her father is in the oil business. "I guess if we left right now everything would have been for nothing, I don't know."
Watson adds, "I don't see, like, a clear end. What would be the definition of us winning this war? Like, who do we have to capture? Like, what is the ultimate goal? So it's hard to say when it could end?"

Little Ellie and Justy have obviously tortured their souls over this illegal war . . . or as close as they will ever come to thought that ever goes deeper than their nail polish. (Not what color to paint, mind you, no thought that's ever deeper than a layer of nail polish.) Last time I checked, NYU was considered a respectable university.

You see those idiots throughout the article. The names get shuffled around, but it's the universal ignorance. Now this, these people, are the ones the US media (big and small) use to say students are apathetic and don't care about the illegal war. That's a lie. Students have been speaking out, organizing and much more. But the spoiled segment -- which, for the record, was also present in the 'sixties' -- today explains a great deal about our press.

Let's journey to the Television and Film program at NYU.

The Undergraduate program of the Institute of Film and Television offers the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. Candidates for the Bachelor's degree must fulfill the following requirements:

*A minimum of 54 points in Area I (UGFTV).
*A minimum of 44 points in Area II (General Education).
*Enough credits in Areas I and II to total 128 points, or enough credits in Areas I, II, and Electives to total 128 points.

It apparently doesn't offer anything to underscore the realities of the world we live in judging by the superficial, beyond-uninformed comments offered up by Ellie and Justy in the midst of their sabbatical from so much apparent deep thinking. Note "General Education." They really are nothing but glorified "general studies majors." Now NYU's journalism major proper does require you double major but many will take their TF NYU degrees (which lack even the "R" these days) and go into the world of journalism where they will do many, many years of damage.

On the topic of Adam Kokesh, the US military denied his appeal on Wednesday. That has nothing to do with justice nor is it the end of the road unless he decides he's tired of their crap (and who could blame him for that). Erika notes Mark Rainer's "Antiwar US Marine veteran stripped of honorable discharge status" (World Socialist Web Site):

Kokesh was justifiably angered about the resulting investigation. At a press conference June 1, he said, "I knew that the Uniform Code of Military Justice was not supposed to apply to members of the IRR. I was deeply offended to see that Marine Corps resources and tax payer dollars were being used to investigate the political activities of an active reservist. I expressed that in my e-mail, so I chastised him for wasting his time, while Marines are dying every day in Iraq, on such a trivial political issue."
His attorney added: "This case is important because it affects hundreds of thousands of Iraq and war-on-terror veterans. As the first in a number of cases where the military is seeking to stifle political speech of IRR civilians, we need to draw a line in the sand now in order to protect the First Amendment rights of those who may have picked up a rifle in order to defend our country."
At least two other members of the IRR are being investigated by the Marine Corps for political speech against the war. Liam Madden has been accused of wearing his uniform at a Washington, D.C., antiwar march in January, and making disloyal statements during a speech in New York in February.

Cloy Richards and Liam Madden are also facing witch hunts from the US military. Madden held a press conference/rally in Boston yesterday. Ty, Wally, Mike and I were able to make that. Wally did ask about the t-shirt Madden wore. It's the black Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirt that Kokesh has been wearing. At present, they're not selling the t-shirts at their site. Wally's going to make some up with "Support Iraq Veterans Against the War" across the chest and knows they'll be popular on his campus. Kokesh, Richards and Madden are being targeted and probably other members will be as well so it may be a very good idea to figure out how you can pre-emptively show your support in your community. Liam Madden's conference is what I focused on for my piece in today's gina & krista's round-robin. Beth's got a humorous column as well as her usual ombudsperson column. And Gina and Krista's roundtable focuses on Kokesh, Richards, Madden and Even Knappenberger (whom we'll get to here in a minute) the address for the petition to sign in support of Liam Madden is in the column and you can also click here to sign.

Evan Knappenberger has been covered this week at Iraq Veterans Against the War and he's also the topic of Charlie's highlight (Charlie is among the members participating in the roundtable -- check your inboxes), Sam Taylor's "War vet cites support for stop loss protest" (The Bellingham Herald) and his demonstration is taking place in Bellingham, WA:

Evan Knappenberger stood in front of The Federal Building downtown Thursday morning, dressed in fatigues and ready to speak to anyone interested in listening.
It was his final full day of a week-long stint protesting the government's stop loss policy. The practice allows the military to extend tours of duty even if a soldier’s contract is expiring.
And so he has spent his time, 24 hours a day in downtown, hoping to educate people about the policy.
Nights have been spent hunkered down in a sleeping bag on top of 6-foot-tall yellow scaffolding. Some local Vietnam War veterans lined the top with sandbags.

In the New York Times this morning, Thom Shanker offers "New War Czar Wins Praise, But White House Is Faulted" which exists to cover Dougie Lute's attempts to lower expectations as the September deadline looms. Not surprising. Surprising is Shanker's claim that it was "a hearing that alternated between back-slapping and back-stabbing". It may very well have. Life is too short for me to waste my own time watching people shuffle through the motions but nothing in his report indicates "back-stabbing." Paul von Zielbauer's "At Haditha Hearing, Dueling Views of a Battalion Commander" offers news on the ongoing Article 32 hearing of Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani and notes that Chessani made a sworn statement in March that included these comments: "I believe the enemy picked the ground where he wanted to attack us. They were -- they had set this up so that there would be collateral damage." That kind of excuse goes a long way to explaining how so many Iraqis were slaughtered. It's nonsense. As PvZ has previously reported, among the many slaughtered were two women protecting children (presumably their own). The "enemy" did not "set up" or "create" the deaths of those women and children but a mind set that would argue that in a sworn statement goes a long way towards explaining how the November 2005 slaughter happened to begin with. Tony Perry's "Marine says he erased photos of Haidtha victims" (Los Angeles Times):

The testimony by Staff Sgt. Justin Laughner, taken under a grant of immunity, is the first evidence suggesting that any Marine officer may have engaged in a coverup in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005.
Other testimony has suggested that officers made only a superficial review before deciding that the deaths were combat-related and thus no war crimes investigation was required.
At the Article 32 inquiry, similar to a preliminary hearing, for a former battalion commander, Laughner testified hat he felt the order to destroy the pictures, which he said was given by Lt. Andrew Grayson, amounted to obstruction of justice but that he complied and later lied when asked whether any pictures had been taken.
"It was wrong," Laughner said. "Somebody was asking for them [the pictures], and we're not going to give them to them? It's not right, but I didn't say anything."

The entire slaughter, a War Crime, has been treated by Jeffries (and people higher than Jeffries) as not something to get to the bottom of but instead something to obscure.

Elizabeth de la Vega is a guest on this week's CounterSpin which begins airing in many markets today as is Jeff Cohen. Bill Moyers Journal begins airing in markets today (PBS) and among the segments scheduled will be one on CEO pay and one with Christian Parenti discussing Afghanistan.

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